These data were presented as a talk at the International Meeting for Autism Research on May 14, 2011 in San Diego, CA.
Atypical brain activation patterns during a face-to-face joint attention game in adults with autism spectrum disorder
Article first published online: 16 APR 2012
Copyright © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Human Brain Mapping
Volume 34, Issue 10, pages 2511–2523, October 2013
How to Cite
Redcay, E., Dodell-Feder, D., Mavros, P. L., Kleiner, M., Pearrow, M. J., Triantafyllou, C., Gabrieli, J. D. and Saxe, R. (2013), Atypical brain activation patterns during a face-to-face joint attention game in adults with autism spectrum disorder. Hum. Brain Mapp., 34: 2511–2523. doi: 10.1002/hbm.22086
- Issue published online: 12 SEP 2013
- Article first published online: 16 APR 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 17 FEB 2012
- Manuscript Revised: 24 JAN 2012
- Manuscript Received: 9 NOV 2011
- Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
- superior temporal sulcus;
- medial prefrontal cortex
Joint attention behaviors include initiating one's own and responding to another's bid for joint attention to an object, person, or topic. Joint attention abilities in autism are pervasively atypical, correlate with development of language and social abilities, and discriminate children with autism from other developmental disorders. Despite the importance of these behaviors, the neural correlates of joint attention in individuals with autism remain unclear. This paucity of data is likely due to the inherent challenge of acquiring data during a real-time social interaction. We used a novel experimental set-up in which participants engaged with an experimenter in an interactive face-to-face joint attention game during fMRI data acquisition. Both initiating and responding to joint attention behaviors were examined as well as a solo attention (SA) control condition. Participants included adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) (n = 13), a mean age- and sex-matched neurotypical group (n = 14), and a separate group of neurotypical adults (n = 22). Significant differences were found between groups within social-cognitive brain regions, including dorsal medial prefrontal cortex (dMPFC) and right posterior superior temporal sulcus (pSTS), during the RJA as compared to SA conditions. Region-of-interest analyses revealed a lack of signal differentiation between joint attention and control conditions within left pSTS and dMPFC in individuals with ASD. Within the pSTS, this lack of differentiation was characterized by reduced activation during joint attention and relative hyper-activation during SA. These findings suggest a possible failure of developmental neural specialization within the STS and dMPFC to joint attention in ASD. Hum Brain Mapp 34:2511–2523, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.